Monday, May 31, 2010

Briolette Suspension - a tutorial by Paul Bishop

This is the last wire project in our special series, created and shared by Paul Bishop, our wire-wrapping champ, of Bishop Wire & Bead.  Many many thanks to Paul...if you've seen my wire wrapping, you know that you don't want me doing these tutorials!

Project #5 – Briolette Suspension

You need:

· A length of heavy half-hard wire, enough to go around the briolette with room to space and to create the extra bends and hanging loops. Since the wire is on the outside, soft wire will not be strong enough unless you can hammer it to hardness after formed.

· Two lengths of soft, thinner wire. Soft is important.

· A briolette. Any kind will do

· Wire cutters

· Circular/Oval forms (anything that you can wrap wire around. I used dowels.

· Chain-nose and flat-nosed pliers

· (Optional) Round-nosed pliers, jewelry hammer and anvil/bench block

The hardest part of this is the metal frame. It needs to be very symmetrical so the briolette hangs properly once completed.

1. Take the length of heavy wire and bend it into a circle/oval using a form larger than the briolette would fit into when laying flat. Let the ends cross.

2. Bend the crossed ends back using a smaller circle form, taking care to keep it symmetrical and flat. You might find it helpful to measure and mark your “pivot points” (where the curve changes direction) with a fine point marker.

3. Repeat the make the hanging loops, letting the wire overlap as if you were starting a wrapped loop.

a. For the hanging loops, I used the base of my round-nosed pliers.

4. Cut the wire with the wire cutters, and make sure the entire piece is flat, in the same manner as closing a jump ring.

5. At this point, if you want to add texture to the frame or simply flatten it, use the hammer and hard surface to do so. Once done, check to be sure it’s still symmetrical and flat.

6. Take the thin wire, and start a wrap around the curved portions between the bends made in step 2.

7. End the wrap on the whatever side you’ve chosen to be the back.

8. Cut both ends and tuck the ends against the inside of the thick wire and/or inside the wrapping.

9. Take the second thin wire and wrap it tightly onto the frame, high enough that the weight of the briolette won’t pull it to the bottom of the frame (I started wrapping up the frame from the 10 o’clock position).

10. Put the briolette on the end of the wire and position it in the center of the frame.

11. Take the wire from the unwrapped side of the briolette and wrap it onto the frame at the same position the other touches the frame on the other side.

12. Wrap the wire, making a reflection of the other wrapped side.

13. Trim the wires and tuck them against the back of the frame.

14. Attach the hanging loops to your stringing material.

I have another version of this done in copper wire. The frame does not come anywhere near touching at the top, but it is circular/oval enough that the briolette won’t slide down the sides as wrapped. Also, I used a heavier wire throughout to keep the form stronger.

Copyright 2010 Paul Bishop. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit without the permission of the author.  

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Like Czech glass? Andrew hosts a giveaway courtesy of Raven's Journey. Find out how you can win these luminous beads!

A Bead A Day
Looking to make some super-sized jewelry just perfect for a princess? Lisa uses large blueberry briolettes and a swarovski mix to create just that! Jewelry Making
Tammy ask in this quick poll about how you use social networking to promote you and/or your jewelry business. 

Art Bead Scene
ABS is here to help you with your business. Check out Zazzle to customize your earring cards for your jewelry business.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Book Review: Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi's button maker is the reason for this new vintage image necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
This week's Wednesday Wire is a free tutorial, "Matchin' by Wrappin'." 

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Learn about the Raku firing process and see the results of Melanie's new Raku adventures!

Heather shares some time management tips for creatives.

Jean Campbell
Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's wonderful new addition, Sculptural Metal Clay.  
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is delighted to review Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert! You will LOVE this book which focuses on wire and art beads!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses the process of reworking a weak necklace design - the revised version of which now appears on the cover of The Best of Step by Step Beads. 

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chapter Two is almost finished!

Every Bead Has a Story ~ Mixed Media Bead Embroidery
Chapter Two: Altered Surfaces

I am really excited to tell you that I finished my first pass in writing Chapter Two today!!  It needs to be cleaned up, converted to pdf and all that, and I am hoping to be able to launch it next week.  The earlier the better!

Here's what's included: more stitches, techniques for altering your backgrounds before you start beading (think painting, collaging, making craft felt look like leather, etc), and two step-by-step projects to inspire you to use the new techniques!  Seventy-two pages in all...that's as long as some e-books are in total, and this is just Chapter Two.  Sheesh!

Here's a sneak peek at one of the projects.  I'll show you the whole thing next week...

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Website traffic for your jewelry business

Attracting more traffic is what leads to higher sales, so increased traffic is good, right? Well...only if it's the kind of traffic that's fairly likely to buy your work! There are two common mistakes that people make (I've made them both!) when they first get started trying to promote their website: joining Free For All sites (FFA) and expecting to make sales by posting on discussion boards. We can now add posting comments to blogs in this category too.

Some FFA sites are free to join, others will cost you. All are useless. Your site will be posted to hundreds or thousands of useless non-indexed sites, your email will be deluged with spam offers for body part enhancement, and your life will become a living hell for awhile until you fall back off the radar.

Posting to discussion boards and blogs is a great way to introduce yourself to the bead and jewelry community, and those of us who write or manage them LOVE to have your input...we really really do. But just remember that you're kind of preaching to the choir, so to speak. Most of the folks who hang out on forum boards are beadmakers and jewelers themselves, not the most likely crowd to buy your jewelry. But they are GREAT places to meet and network with people in the business, to build your reputation, and to learn. They are also wonderful places to share your knowledge with others, simply because it's a nice thing to do, and others are willing to do that for you!

So, to attract good quality traffic, definitely become part of the community, get involved in blogging, discussion boards, and other social media. Write articles. Teach. Put your website and blog URL on every email you send and every piece of paper you hand out. Make sure you've got good keywords in the descriptive text on your site. Trade links with others (but don't become a link farm!).

In most cases, save your money.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sodalite Delightful - a tutorial by Paul Bishop

[Editor's note: Another special project created and shared by Paul Bishop, our wire-wrapping champ, of Bishop Wire & Bead.  The last in the series will be posted next week...don't miss any of them!

If you'd like to offer a tutorial on Beading Arts, by all means, contact me at cyndi @ (remove the spaces), and let me know what you'd like to write about.]

Artist: Paul Bishop
Website: Bishop Wire & Bead

Project #4 – Sodalite Delightful

Wrapping stones can be fun and challenging. Fairly regular-shaped rocks are easiest. One with a distinct shape can prove a challenge. If you’re entirely new, pick a smooth rounded rock. It is far easier on the hands than a sharp one when it slips out of your grasp.

You need:

· An interesting stone. Mine was sodalite.

· 3 soft wires, preferably of different gauges, but none less than 22 gauge. You could even mix wire colours, if the colours complement the stone. (note - If you’re new to wrapping, do this in cheaper wire – stainless steel or copper – for practice.)

· Chain-nose pliers

· Round-nosed pliers

· Wire cutters

The Wrapping:

1. Cut a piece heaviest wire, long enough to wrap all the way around the stone along it’s long axis and make a “wrapped” loop (single wrapped or double wrapped, your choice).

a. By double wrapped, I mean a wrapped loop that will be wrapped again after the wire is taken around the stone.

b. By single wrapped, I mean a simple loop at the top, and the wire is wrapped around itself below this loop after it circles the stone. I used this version.

2. Using the round-nosed pliers, add the top loop of your choice, large enough to fit whatever hanging material you’re going to use.

3. Two wire widths below the loop (below the wrapping for the double wrapped loop), bend the wire 90 degrees.

4. Hold the stone in your fingers with the long axis pointing down, thumb on one side, fingers on the other.

5. Put the loop in between two fingers, holding it vertically over the top of the stone so the 90 degree angle points away from your hand.

6. Using your other hand, start wrapping the wire down one side of the stone. In the pictures, it’s the thick vertical wire you see on the right. Don’t try to put in the kinks you see here. That happens later.

7. Once you put it down the side, hold the wire and stone together with your fingers or thumb, whatever side it’s on.

8. Pull the wire up the other side, over the top, and hold it in place.

9. Allow a little slackness, then wrap the wire UP around the vertical wire a couple of times. Cut your wire and tuck the end in with the chain nose pliers.

10. This is a good time to rest your hands and put down the stone and simple frame.

11. Choose the next thinnest wire. Cut a few lengths that will go around the stone horizontally, and add enough to allow several turns of wrapping around the wire frame and some slack.

12. You can start wrapping the new wire around the frame anywhere you like. I started near the top as the frame curves down to the side.

13. Bend the wire around to the other side of the frame, wrap it around the wire. Don’t forget to leave a little slack.

14. Repeat with the wire, wrapping around the stone each time. I basically divided the stones into quarters, top to bottom with three wires around the stone. If your wire gets too short, clip it off with wire cutters so that the cut end goes inside the wrap against the store. This will keep sharp edges away from the wearer.

15. Do the same with the next thinnest wire. This time, start anywhere you want and go in any direction you feel. Cut ends go under, leave a little slack. All you have to remember is cover enough of the frame so the stone cannot push between wires and fall out. I used this thin wire to cover the vertical part of the frame on the sides where there was no heavy wire.

16. Now, get ready to be do some “kinky” stuff. Taking your chain nose pliers, choose a section of the heaviest wire and place the jaws perpendicular to the stone (tips pointing down at the stone with the wire between then.

17. Twist the wire to the left, or right. Depending on how loose or tight you’re holding the jaws of the pliers, you’ll keep sharp kinks or gentle curves. Do this at random places until the heavy wire is tightened against the stone.

18. Repeat kinking with the next thinnest wire.

19. And again with the finest wire. You might notice that other places became a little less tight as you progressed. As long as the stone cannot fall out, you’re OK, but you can tweak as much as you want.

20. String your new pendant on the material of your choice.

My version of this is strung on 1/3 loop of necklace memory wire, covered in black rubber tubing (that’s why it’s hard to see in the photo). Once strung, the ends of the memory wire were given loops small enough that the stone cannot slide off. Those memory wire loops were attached by jump rings to a silver-plated chain. My chain has a clasp in the middle.

(Alternately, I could have used clasps at both ends of the chain to clip onto the memory wire loops. Then you could switch this wrapping with other pendants that can fit those clasps. One chain, many necklaces.)

Copyright 2010 Paul Bishop. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit without the permission of the author.  

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Bead Journal Project: bracelet for May

This is my Bead Journal Project piece for May. Flowers, flowers, flowers everywhere.  I started with some more fabric that I painted as the background.  I added some dyed paua shell beads to represent the stepping stones through my garden, and some fanciful small flowers that are peyote stitched.  There's a tutorial for the beaded flowers elsewhere.    


Here are the instructions for how I am making these bracelets.  

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Strands of Beads
Like several of her esteemed colleagues, Melissa has a few pieces in the Bead Star competition to show off this week! 

A Bead A Day
Lisa explains her thoughts behind part 1 of a new bracelet project. Jewelry Making
Tammy recently took a trip to the Bahamas and discovered some souvenir pennies in her purse. They were so bright and shiny they had to be turned into jewelry.  

Art Bead Scene
It's the fifth month anniversary of the ABS Carnival Blog! Come see how we've grown!  

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Take a jewelry class with me at CREATE!  

Carmi's Art/Life World
In an effort to use all that she buys, Carmi repairs and recycles vintage metal from Paris.  

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Cindy's starting a new feature on her blog - The Wednesday Wire! Come take a look!  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A gift from a local potter starts Melanie on a new clay adventure: Raku!  

Heather explores 23 days of inspiration as she gets ready for the Bead & Button Show. See how Van Gogh has inspired her through the years.  

Jean Campbell
Jean's just full of travelogues, isn't she? This time she went to a Kansas bead retreat.  

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Voting has now opened in the Bead Star competition, come check out my 5 entries!
Vote for your Bead Star Favorites!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
The best wedding I never went to! My editor's incredibly romantic wedding -- Australian Beading Magazine  

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another great local bead store: Bead Bar

The Bead Bar gang contacted asked me to let you know about the exceptional stock and service that Central Floridians are already acquainted with...sound like a good reason for a road trip?  :-)

Orlando, Fl 32803

(407) 426 - 8826

Bead Bar is a family-owned full service bead store and designer jewelry boutique that has been serving the Central Florida community since 1991. We offer the most diverse selection of fine beads and beading supplies in the area. We carry all the popular brands such as Toho seed beads, Miyuki Delicas, Swarovski and Thunder Polish Crystals, Fire Line, Beadalon, and much more. We also have collectibles like Chevron and other African trade beads, Vintage Venetian beads, Vintage German and Czech Beads, and even Ancient Roman Glass! Our products come from all over the globe, and our thirty years of industry experience allows us to offer the best stuff at the best prices. We have something for every age group, every project, and every budget.

Our beading family keeps things fun around here. We strive to keep things exciting and entertaining. We host lots of special events, including our monthly “Bead Bar Happy Hour” which brings the beading community together for great food, drinks, music, and free class instruction from featured artists and designers.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New sponsor: Meryl Pataky

You'll find a new sponsor ad over in the sidebar today...Meryl Pataky shares her beautiful jewelry and installation art with us.  From paper to neon tubing, Meryl enjoys it all!

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Rubber glass and polymer clay

So far, not so good!  I've not yet found a satisfactory way to combine the new silicone product, Rubber Glass with polymer clay.  Cindy Lietz has been emailing back and forth with me, and just when we thought we might have it figured out, "disaster" struck!

You see, the problem is that silicone doesn't stick to anything.  Not even to itself once it's cured.  No common epoxies or adhesives will stick it to anything else.  You think it's working while the glue is drying, but once it's totally dry, the silicone piece just pops right off.  There is a special adhesive called Sil-poxy which will stick it to other stuff, supposedly, but it's not a firm enough bond to trust with items that you're going to wear.

So, Cindy thought we should try to embed the silicone pieces in liquid polymer clay.  I had some TLS, a Sculpey product on hand, so I gave it a whirl.  I deliberately chose pieces that had larger bottoms than tops so that there would be some "overhang" to embed in the liquid clay.  Silicone can take the heat, so I formed a reservoir in a small slab of clay and filled it with liquid clay.  I tried it two different ways, adding pigment powders before and after adding the silicone piece.

As you can see, adding the pigment before yielded a better looking result.  But, after baking and thoroughly cooling the pieces, look what happened:

The silicone just popped right back out, even though the baked clay surrounded it!

Back to the drawing board :-)  Anyone else have any great ideas? 

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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The official Etsy handbook

If you've ever thought that you wanted to give online selling a try with your handmade products, Etsy is probably the site that will give you the most insider help and support.  Etsy has a fantastic resource page called the Etsy Seller Handbook.

I'm telling you right now: whether you decide to sell specifically at Etsy or not, you'd be foolish not to check out the wealth of information that pertains to far more than just this site.  Besides the "how to make your Etsy shop work for you" links, there is also information on writing good copy, taking good photos, pricing, marketing and promoting, social networking and blogging, and keeping it all legal.

Do not miss out!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A spiral on a front-top drilled flat pendant - a tutorial by Paul Bishop


[Editor's note: Once more I am happy to turn this blog over again to the wonderful wire work of Paul Bishop. This is Paul's third tutorial: please don't miss the rest of them this month!

If you'd like to offer a tutorial on Beading Arts, by all means, contact me at cyndi @ (remove the spaces), and let me know what you'd like to write about.]

Artist: Paul Bishop
Website: Bishop Wire & Bead

Project #3 – A spiral on a front-top drilled flat pendant

This tiger-eye pendant is smaller than my thumbnail. It’s about 3/4 inch wide and 1 inch tall. The hole for the wire is quite small, so I used a higher gauge wire (24?). The wire should have a snug fit in the hole.

1. Start a spiral by using your round-nose pliers to hold a wire at the very tip.

2. Wrap the wire tightly around one of the round-nose all the way back to the beginning.

3. Slip the wire into a pair of chain-nose or nylon pliers so the loop is in the jaws with the wire on the side of the loop nearest to you. It should be sticking out horizontally across your body toward your free hand (think very thin candy cane).

4. With your free hand, push the wire toward the spiral, keeping it in line with the spiral edge. The closer you do, the tighter your loop. We want this loop fairly tight.

5. Open the pliers and move the entire wire and loop so that the wire is back in place across your body.

6. Repeat these last two steps, checking against the pendant every few turns until you have a spiral that fits nicely on the pendant. One that is an equal distance away from the bottom and side edges is good.

7. Hold the spiral in your pliers, and using another set of pliers or your hands bend the wire 90 degrees so the spiral looks like a lollipop.

8. Turn the spiral over and place it on the pendant so the spiral is in place and the wire points up toward the hole. You want 2” or more above the hole, to make the wrapped loop coming up.

9. Mark the wire lightly at the hole with a fine-point marker, taking care not to mark the pendant.

10. Keeping the spiral facing away, bend the wire 90 degrees at the sharpie mark.

11. Turn over the spiral and slide the wire through the hole in the front of the pendant.

12. Holding the spiral in place on the pendant, bend the wire sticking out the back upward 90 degrees. If your wire is fairly snug in the hole, the pendant will stay in place easily and not slide over the bends.

Now for the wrapped loop (see above):

1. Place the tip of your round-nosed pliers about ¼ inch above the bend, and bend the wire 90 degrees.

2. Move the pliers so one round-nose in the new bend and the other on top. How large the loop is depends on how deeply you place your pliers.

3. Bend the wire up and around and down the other side.

4. Move the pliers again so that the bottom part is in the loop.

5. Take the end of the wire (using another pair of pliers gives more fine control) and wrap it around the wire right at the bottom of the loop as tightly as you can.

6. Keep doing this as tightly as possible without overlap (like a coil) until you either reach ¼ inch from the wire end, of the bottom of the vertical wire.

7. Gently press your loops together with the chain-nose pliers.

8. Use your side cutters to snip off the excess wrapping wire (if any), then your chain nose pliers to push the remaining end again the bottom of the wrap under the last coil.

Now, it’s either a pendant for its own cord/chain, or it can be a component in a larger wire necklace.

If you are adventurous, 90 degree bends can be used to make diamonds, squares, rectangle shapes in a looser “spiral” form, whatever can fit your shape best.

In the necklace picture, I used a similar treatment on a pendant, but used a plain loop at the top. The rest of the necklace is simple components – a few tiger-eye beads on a wire with a plain loop at either end. These were connected together by opening and closing loops. In this necklace, the wire is 20G Argentium sterling silver. I practiced making a lot of plain loops on stainless steel wire first until I could make them consistently!

You could also make a necklace like this with wrapped loops, and joining the components with jump rings. The beauty of using components like this is that you can easily add or remove components to change the length.

Copyright 2010 Paul Bishop. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit without the permission of the author.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Snap out of it, Jean!There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's inspiring new book, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry, with DVD included!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off new designs using cool skull beads and charms from Rings & Things

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosts another Thursday Giveaway! This time, the prize comes courtesy of Natural Touch Beads! Find out how you can win some awesome resin jewelry components!

A Bead A Day
Creating jewelry for special vacations can help you look forward to upcoming trips and keep the memories fresh afterwards.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene has a new look and some new opportunties to get involved. Come see!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses some amazing digital images to create a new resin filled bezel necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Check out the new beads on Cindy's site - Turquoise Sky! 

Heather shares some sketches of possible designs.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Florida is certainly beautiful, and so is the fabric they have at their quilt shops. Check out what Linda found on her journey.  

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rubber glass necklace

The first project that I want to share with you that uses the new Rubber Glass product will cause you to wonder why I didn't just use resin. Several reasons: this silicone product is flexible, which means that you can cinch your beadwork tightly around it and have it actually dig in slightly. You can even stitch right through it if you want to. Once it is cured, you can fracture it so that it takes on the look of either glass or ice. No release agents are needed with your molds. It is crystal crystal clear when it dries so that anything embedded looks like it is trapped in glass.  Only the very clearest resin comes close.

Basically, silicone and resins are two completely different products. Each has its best use, and since this form of silicone, Rubber Glass, is new to the market, we've just begun to figure out all we can do with it!

Materials & Tools

Rubber glass (
Brass wire
Size 8/0 seed beads, ice blue
Size 11/0 seed beads, ice blue
Size 15/0 seed beads, ceylon pearl
Nymo beading thread, size O white

Mixing cup and stirrer for silicone
Mold for silicone (I used a small paper cup)
Masking tape
Beading needles, size 13
Flat nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters
Small file

1. Form a loose swirl pattern with brass wire, leaving a 4 inch "tail".

2. Mix up rubber glass according to the package directions. Measure carefully.

3. Use masking tape to suspend the wire in the silicone while it hardens. Unmold when fully cured (no release agent is needed). Cut the back flat and "chip" the sides to create a jagged looking disc.

4. String enough size 8/0 seed beads to go around the disc. String through the beginning bead from the same direction and slip that bead over the brass wire.

5. Peyote stitch a couple of rows around the disc, pulling snug.

6. On the back side of the disc, create "prongs" with size 11/0 seed beads topped with one 15/0 seed bead. Stitch back down through the 11/0s and back into the peyote ring.

7. When all the prongs are stitched, take the needle and thread to the top of one prong and add size 15/0 seed beads between the top of each prong. Stitch around the whole ring again for strength, and run the needle back down one of the prongs.

8. Stitch to the front side of the peyote ring, and add prongs on that side too.

9. Repeat step 7, creating a ring in the front. Run the needle back down into the peyote ring and secure all thread ends.

10. Turn a wrapped loop with the brass wire and file any sharp ends.

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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More wire artist profiles

 Olivia Competente
Digging deep into our archives here, I've found profiles with many wire artists that I think will inspire you to reach for your pliers!

Wendy Van Camp

Kelly Alvarez Mace

Penny Purdie

Leah Hitchcock-Ybarra

Deborah Kwitney

Bernadine Stoopman

Olivia Competente

Puakea Soares-Mercado

Paul Bishop

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sherri Haab's new book

by Sherri Haab

This is the next book that I desperately want to read!  The publication date was March 2010, I have seen the reviews, and they are GOOD.  Since no one wants to spend hard-earned money on a book that isn't worth it, I always read the reviews before I shell out.  Looks like I'm going to have to on this one since no one has sent me a review copy yet ;-)

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